Tag Archives: advice

BU COM celebrates its 100th Anniversary with COM Talks

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

It’s been a great past week for Boston University’s College of Communication (COM). With the celebration of the program’s 100th anniversary, COM hosted a number events that honored its alumni, students, staff and faculty. This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend COM Talks, an event not too different from the ever so influential TED Talks, which have been making such a huge difference in people’s lives. These talks reach millions nationwide, informing them of ideas worth sharing, ranging from “Why a good book is a secret door,” to the controversies of gender violence. At BU, we’ve developed our own, unique style of a Talk event but with the same idea in mind: connecting and communicating the ideas worth sharing.

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At the event, COM featured a superstar panel of experts in their respective fields of mass communication and journalism. Each speaker shared their personal experiences, what their roles in this industry mean to them and how every story we report leaves a mark everywhere and affects the way society functions. Each speaker reminded us of what roles we take on as both the reader and the reporter.  As each speaker shared his/her message, one message remained consistent: Storytelling is the heart of what COM does and it gives every individual an opportunity to connect with audiences. This event brought the best alumni and faculty to demonstrate the craft of true storytelling.

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This is a candid photo that my friend and fellow blogger Keiko Talley took while I was waiting in line to meet the Senior Vice President of HBO, Jay Roewe, a BU alumnus and producer of many major hit shows such as “The Newsroom” and the show that’s taken the entire world by force, “Game of Thrones”. Needless to say, I was absolutely stoked. Not to mention, absolutely star struck. I don’t usually get too fangirly but, GAME OF THRONES?! Come ON!

He was just one of the few amazing people we got to meet and listen at COM Talks. It was definitely a panel of rock stars in the industry; from New York Times best-selling authors, to legal prosecutors, to those who worked for Good Morning America and my very own Media Law professor Dick Lehr, whose investigative reporting on the case of Whitey Bulger for the Boston Globe got turned into a Hollywood movie starring Johnny Depp, Sienna Miller, and Benedict Cumberbatch. This group of superb individuals that came to speak at the event were so impressive, and they all reiterated the same message reminding us why we chose journalism, and what we can do to utilize it as an important facet of society.

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At the end of the event, we were given a small card that forced us to go up to any of these speakers and ask them the questions printed on the card. I had to go up to an alumni and ask what their favorite course was at COM. That part was easy…I was already given something to ask. However, being forced to jump out of my comfort zone and overcome my shyness to reach out to these amazing people was another story. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of being in their presence, but I mustered up all the courage possible and did it. In turn, I had the privilege of meeting with our first COM Talk speaker Travis Roy (COM ’00), author of “Eleven Seconds” and former hockey player for the BU Terriers.

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Besides speaking with Mr. Jay Roewe, meeting with Travis Roy was definitely a personal highlight of the event.  His speech stood out to me for so many reasons. He came to BU in the fall of 1995 with a hockey scholarship, but a few weeks later on October 20th,  his life changed forever. Roy suffered an injury that left him a quadriplegic. On Saturday, Roy said it was at that challenging time in his life when he realized that as often as we may choose our challenges, other times, the challenges choose us. It isn’t about how much gets taken away from us, but rather, how we choose to respond and find what drives us forward, despite our obstacles. The core of Roy’s personal story was definitely emotional; as much as he kept pointing out the simplicity of his message, it was definitely the most profound.

IMG_2475What COM Talks helped me realize that every day we are here, we get more and more inspired and motivated. Whether we find the inspiration in our classes, the lectures or even the events that are put together for students, they all push us forward. Not only are there a lot of impressive individuals at COM worth getting to know, but there is also such a large pool of successful alumni always willing to help current students out. The event reminded me why I’m here, and the endless opportunities that await all of us even long after we leave.

Most of the speakers are all alumni who, at one point in their lives, were in our very shoes, trying to get the word out and deciding on their career paths. They were students just like us, hoping to make a mark on the industry someday. At the end of the day, as COM Talks reminded us, it’s about serving the public’s needs, discussing the truth, and making a difference.

 

Winners of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award offer advice for success

By Nikita Sampath
MS Broadcast Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

If you walked around BU’s campus this past week, you probably noticed the numerous events being hosted for BU Alumni, faculty, staff and students. BU was smart in planning these events at a time when new grads were settling in and most likely thinking about where their degree might take them. These events were designed to provide networking opportunities, teach and inspire; after attending COM’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, I can personally say, BU’s mission was accomplished.

2014 Distinguished Alumni from L-R: Cleveland O’Neal III (COM ’78), Cynthia Cordes (COM ’01), Will Lautzenheiser (CAS ’96, COM ’07) and Bill Simmons (COM ’93). Photo, Katherine Taylor. — with Cleveland O’Neal, Cynthia Phillips Cordes, William Lautzenheiser and Bill Simmons at Boston University College of Communication (BU COM).

At the event, celebrated on Thursday at the School of Management, COM students and faculty were actively interacting with the alumni over tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks. This year, COM honoured four of its alumni- – Cleveland O’Neal III, Cynthia Cordes, Bill Simmons and Will Lautzenheiser. Each of them had accomplished something from which we learned.

Cleveland O’Neal (COM ‘78), the first African American to produce a show on CBS, started out as an actor. While working on the CBS series, he built his own Emmy-nominated entertainment company, Connection III, from ground up. “Work hard” was his advice to students.
One step at a time.

Cynthia Cordes (COM ‘01) went from studying Journalism at COM to studying Law at Notre Dame. This year she featured on a national list of Top 250 Women in Litigation selected by Benchmark Litigation. She began her career with the U.S Department of of Justice where she led a task force on human trafficking. Now a partner at Husch Blackwell, she continues her anti-human trafficking efforts through the company’s Human Trafficking Legal Clinic, the first of its kind in the United States.
Be passionate about your work.

Bill Simmons (COM ‘97) is a name most American sports fans identify. He graduated with a degree in print journalism from COM but foresaw the potential of the internet even when his dad tried persuading him to stick to traditional print media. His blog The Sports Guy caught the attention of ESPN who hired him in 2001. Since then, he’s gone on to become the editor-in-chief of Grantland.com.
Trust your instincts.

Will Lautzenheiser (COM ‘07) was a student like one of us; he was fascinated by the Charles River and wanted to make a film about it. However, three years ago he lost his arms and legs to a deadly bacteria. At the event on Thursday, we watched his short documentary, Stumped, in which he featured and wrote. It tells the story of how he got used to his prosthetic legs and how he is now a stand-up, or sit-down comedian as he calls himself.
Life will give you lemons.

This BU alumni event was indeed a great way to begin the semester. It reminded us that hard work is the only way to success, and that we must make the most of networking opportunities.
Stay focused. Stay Inspired.

From a banana slug to a Boston terrier

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

“Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell, brand new shoes, walking blues, climb the fence, books and pens, I can tell that we are gonna be friends.”

I couldn’t help but think this White Stripes’ song was the perfect soundtrack to play on my iPod for the first day of school, while scrambling and hustling to get onto the Green Line.

Ah, yes, the anxiously awaited, first week of classes is finally done. After making a cross-country move from California to Boston, feverishly looking up reputation ratings on RateMyProfessor (sorry, it’s been a longtime tradition of mine since freshman year of college soon as I register for courses), worrying about whether or not my books would be delivered on time (thanks, Amazon!) and almost getting killed on the T, I have to say, it’s been quite an eventful week. I’ve definitely learned a lot about Boston in the three short weeks since I’ve arrived.

For example, I’ve learned there’s no shortage of students in Boston– at least 3/4 of the city’s population is made up of students. It makes sense…you’ve got your major institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston College, UMass, Berklee, Emerson and then the smaller colleges that I, (as a Californian), have never heard of. You get the picture…Boston is the Disneyland of all things education.

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After living in the suburbs my entire life, being in a large city is definitely a paradigm shift,  but I like it. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Even my condo isn’t bad, for a building that looks so old on the outside. At least it’s by three different T stations, convenience stores, restaurants and bars… ah yes, bars. There’s nothing quite like laying in your bed trying to get some shut eye when the sounds of city traffic and party goers trying to find their way home in a drunken stupor fill the night. It hits the sentimentality button so hard that you finally have to reach over to your nightstand and grab your earplugs. Ah, the memories of being 21. It truly is a nostalgic feeling.

I’ve already received quite a few looks and questions from people wondering why on earth would I leave California to endure the desolate winters of Boston. “Ooh, you’re going to be in for a TREAT this winter,” they’d cackle at me. I know, I know. You don’t need to rub it in. I probably purchased enough North Face/Patagonia products for people to think I’m moving to the Arctic.

But hey, extreme weather aside, living in a brand new city across the country in a brand new graduate program in a brand new field where you don’t know a soul is something we all need to experience in our 20s. It’s a chance of a lifetime, especially when you’re still so young and there’s still so much room to grow as an individual.

Not to mention, the reputation and prestige of Boston University’s COM program definitely helped make my decision to come to this chaotic city much easier.

And so far, I have not been disappointed.

It’s been a year since I’ve been out of school, so it’s been tough transitioning back into the student mindset and schedule. But as we all know, everything takes some time getting used to. I remember a year ago when I got hired at my first office job as a writer for an Orange County-based business magazine, I started to actually long for the days when I was a student. Starting at COM this week reminded me of what I enjoy most about school. It starts with the people you meet in your classes. Meeting people from all over the world with different educational backgrounds has always been my favorite part of beginning a new semester. It is a helpful reminder that as stressed out, worried, or homesick you might get at times, we are all in this together. We’re all worried about the same issues, have the same anxieties and stress over the same things. This helps ease my apprehensions, maybe not all, but just enough.

During my first week at COM, I was introduced to the courses and professors I know will help re-ignite that spark in my desire to learn. I won’t lie, I have found some of the course materials in my classes a bit daunting. Taking a bunch of classes in a field I have no academic background in, is definitely a challenge, but it isn’t something I can’t and won’t overcome.

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Since I opened this post with a quote, I think it makes sense that I end with a quote from this cheaply painted cork-board wall poster thingy that I bought for dirt cheap at Walmart. Although it’s stamped with cheesy clichés, I can’t help but notice how the message behind the commercialism is relevant to my life right now:

“Life is not worth anything unless you find something to live for. Let your heart be your guide. Discover your passion and pursue it. Be true to who you are. Make every moment count. Your life is now, seize it and MAKE IT AMAZING.”

A bumpy start to Boston

By Nikita Sampath
MS Broadcast Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

I arrived at Logan International airport feeling more excited than tired after my nearly-24 hour journey. Being the klutz I am, I managed to find myself in an awkward situation just minutes after I got out of the airport.

After a great struggle to load and push out all of my luggage (two suitcases weighing a little over 50 lbs each, another two weighing about 60 lbs and my backpack) from the airport, I was relieved when I spotted my friend who’d come to pick me. In my elated state (I was meeting him after two years), I left my trolley on the pavement to go over and say hello. Bad idea. In the 10 seconds that I was away, my trolley, with all its mass, rolled down the sidewalk and crashed into a parked car causing a rather bad dent. Oopsy. Little did I know, the week that was to follow had more awkwardness in store for me.

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The day I moved in, I lugged most of my luggage from the T to my apartment in the sweltering heat. Honestly I was prepared for the cold but NOT for the heat! I then had to attend the ISSO orientation for new international grad students. When I got home, I noticed my comb was missing. There were some women at our apartment helping us clean and I asked one of them if she’d seen it. She didn’t exactly understand what I was saying, but she did point to the bag of trash she’d just collected. Apprehensively, I took a peek in it. Did I find my comb? Yes I did, but not just that. They’d thrown out a whole bunch of my other stuff including my phone charger, my brand new water bottle, a shoe bag and the pair of socks I’d just taken off!

Later that week, at BU’s College of Communication (COM) building, I mistook a professor for a student and asked him what he was majoring in. At J.P Licks, just as I began relishing my mint chocolate yogurt, my roommate pointed out that I’d picked up a spoon from the used spoons bin.

Nevertheless, my first week has been great. I like all my classes, I made some friends and ate some good stuff. I look forward to the fall and winter, I just hope I don’t embarrass myself too much, as much fun as it may be in hindsight.

Only in grad school do you have class on the weekends

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

My first week of grad school is officially done. I am the third one in my family to even go to grad school, so my mother was bombarding me with texts saying how happy she was and proud of me; she has always been my biggest fan. My best friends from home were all wishing me an amazing first day. It felt like everyone was excited for me, except for myself. I was nervous. I barely knew my way around this huge city, and I was going to have to get back into the mindset of school after being in pure work mode for two years. I didn’t know anyone besides my roommates and few people from a chat group that we created on Facebook (but lets be real how often do you actually meet any of those people and become friends with them). Making friends isn’t my number one priority at BU, but it is something that I know I am going to need to do in order to keep my sanity…and that scares me a lot.

For my first week, I only had three classes. During my first, the T.A. told us that our professor was tough and made him sound like it was going to be next to impossible to get a good grade. Twenty minutes later, the professor came in and immediately started poking fun at everyone, myself included for my tattoos. However, this helped me start to feel a little better about things because I soon realized that someone who I thought was going to be “so scary”, actually was comical.

I chose not to go to the first graduate event at the Hyatt (a cocktail meet and greet for students and professors); however, when I picked up my roommate from the event, I quickly regretted it. But while everyone else was recovering the next morning, my roommate included, I went to a new journalism “boot camp” class all day Saturday and Sunday.

I had already had such anxiety about the class because it was about photojournalism and how to take pictures on a fancy camera, which I knew nothing about. After the professor took attendance I realized that everyone knew each other, which I found odd. It’s a small program, so most of us are in a lot of the same classes, but we hadn’t even had class yet. As I quietly sat at my seat, one of the kids behind me started talking about the Hyatt event and how I wasn’t at there. At this point, I thought I had missed my opportunity to make any friends.

I was wrong because that changed quickly. As annoying as it was having class all day my first weekend at school, it forced us all to get to know each other and become friends. I never thought I would actually enjoy learning how to focus a camera and set the aperture and shutter speed. But by Sunday, it felt like I was hanging out with my friends just taking silly photos of each other. Meeting the people in my boot camp class, and hanging out with them all weekend long made walking into other classes or even around campus a million times easier.

I had fully expected the worst when I was entering my first week at BU, not because the school work seemed so daunting, but because I was five hours away from anything and everything I knew. It’s a scary thought to embark upon a new journey where I could potentially fail. But, that ended up being the best part of entering my first week here at BU. You expect for the worst but hope for the best, and that’s just what happened.

Thankfully, the faculty has been nothing but helpful and understanding of a few unfortunate situations; such as, coming to class late because you went to the wrong building, not having the right book for class because you weren’t sure if you actually needed it (FYI: you do in fact need every book that a professor asks you to get prior to class), and even messing up your first assignment because you were completely clueless. The students here at BU are just as nice as the faculty, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this week, it’s that we’re all in this together. We all want to make friends and succeed. So don’t forget, even though everyone in your classes is your competition, they are also your support group.